Burundi claims 70 percent voter turnout in Monday polls

Despite wideranging calls for boycott Burundi's electoral comission claims 70 percent attendance

Burundi claims 70 percent voter turnout in Monday polls

World Bulletin / News Desk

Burundi’s official electoral commission has put voter turnout in Monday’s legislative election at 70 percent, although some critics contest the figure.

On Tuesday, commission chief Pierre-Claver Ndayiragije described voter participation as “high,” especially in the country’s northern Ngozi and Kayanza provinces and in the easternmost Gitega province.

On Monday, Burundians voted to elect 100 members of parliament and 15 councilors for each of the country’s municipalities.

According to the electoral commission, a total of 3,849,728 citizens were registered to cast ballots.

Some observers, however, have challenged the commission’s turnout figures.

Pacifique Nininahazwe, head of the Forum for the Reinforcement of Civil Society, described the 70-percent turnout figure as “ridiculous” – especially given longstanding calls by the opposition to boycott the polls.

Burundi has been rocked by protest since the country’s ruling party named President Pierre Nkurunziza its candidate for presidential elections slated for July 15.

According to the opposition, Nkurunziza – in power since 2005 – lacks the constitutional right to vie for a third term in office.

Last week, opposition figures had urged citizens to boycott Monday’s parliamentary poll to protest Nkurunziza’s planned third-term bid.

On the day of the parliamentary vote, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for elections to be delayed – both parliamentary and presidential – in light of the opposition’s calls for a boycott.

The EU, meanwhile, condemned Burundi’s decision to go through with elections on Monday, saying the controversial vote would only deepen the country’s political crisis.

Last week, the EU canceled its election observer mission to Burundi due to fears over the integrity of the polls.

The U.S. State Department also voiced disappointment that Burundi held elections on Monday, given calls by the country’s opposition – and the international community – for Nkurunziza to refrain from running for a third presidential term.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Haziran 2015, 15:36